In the first edition of the German magazine ‘Das Magazin für Briefmarken-Sammler’ from May 1863, there was an advertisement which announced the appearance of the “Briefmarken-Polka für das Pianoforte” (The Postage Stamp Polka for the Pianoforte) by J. V. Hamm, with images of 42 colourful stamps, published by C.F.W. Siegel in Leipzig.

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The above stamp was issued by Hungary in 2010 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hungarian Grand Prix for Formula 1 racing cars. As with so many stamps, there is a historical significance attached to that particular issue.

In 1986, after a failed attempt to host a race in the former Soviet Union, then Formula 1 franchise owner Bernie Ecclestone signed a contract in London for the first five years of the Hungarian Grand Prix. A track was quickly built and the first race was held on August 10th, 1986.

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In June a modern German rarity that was not supposed to exist was auctioned by the firm Christoph Gaertner in Berlin. Incredibly, the stamp was sold for 150,060 euros! Only four single examples are known to exist. The 5-stamp set shown top featuring film stars Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe and Jean Gabin was issued the German Bundespost in 2001. But the set originally printed included a stamp with a publicity shot of Audrey Hepburn, taken to advertise the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

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In 2014 the town of Dinant, and particularly the ”Association Internationale A. Sax”, celebrated the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax.

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Jacqueline (Jackie) Cochran (1906-1980), was an American pilot who held more speed, distance, and altitude records than any other flyer during her career.

In 1935 Cochran became the first woman to enter the Bendix Transcontinental Air Race but had to drop out due to mechanical problems. In 1937 she finished third, and in 1938 she won the Bendix Trophy, flying a civilian version of the Seversky P-35 fighter aircraft. Below is a Marshall Islands stamp from 2000, showing a P-35 in battle action.

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One of his most important inventions was the AC power generator. The energy generated with alternating current made it possible to transport electricity over a longer distance with a much higher power than Thomas Edison’s conventional DC (direct current) power at the time – towards the end of the 19th Century. He was Nikola Tesla, a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer and physicist.

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Animals, architecture, sport, famous people, flowers, transport ……… Which topic/theme is most popular among stamp collectors?

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The next instalment of Great Britain’s Royal Mail Music Giants Special Stamp series – a tribute to David Bowie, one of the most influential music and cultural figures of all time – was released on 14 March 2017. Alongside the Special Stamps, First Day Covers and Presentation Pack, this exciting issue features several limited edition David Bowie souvenirs.

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How many of us, at least once in our lives, have been advised to take one or more types of vitamin to help improve our health? And how many millions of people worldwide believe in the efficacy of taking vitamin supplements? I for one knew very little about the origins of the incredible array of these items to be found on the shelves of stores everywhere.

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1Oscar de la Renta (seen above), who died in October 2014 aged 82, was one of the world’s leading fashion designers for more than 50 years. And his work has been commemorated by the United States Postal Service with a stamp series, to be released next month. Born in the Dominican Republic in 1932, de la Renta was apprenticed with Spanish Basque fashion designer Cristobal Balenciaga, before moving to Paris to work at the fashion house Lanvin.

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